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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Gran loses cancer drug appeal
Tablets - (generic)
The drug can shrink tumours and extend symptom-free life
A grandmother has accused health bosses of "euthanasia" after they refused to fund her cancer drug.

Kathleen Devonport, 63, has lost an appeal for the kidney cancer drug Sutent to be prescribed on the NHS.

The 63-year-old, of Chilton, County Durham, says she now faces finding up to 30,000 to pay for a six-month course of the drug.

County Durham Primary Care Trust said there was no evidence of the drug's cost-effectiveness as a treatment.

Nine primary care trusts around England have agreed to fund treatment with Sutent, which is widely used in Europe and America, or a similar drug, Nexavar.

The drugs can slow down the spread of cancer, shrink tumours and extend symptom-free life.

Not approved

The mother-of-three said it was the only drug that could treat her condition as chemotherapy does not work on kidney cancer and other drugs had not improved her condition.

She said: "I don't know which way to turn - it is like euthanasia.

"They are withholding treatment from me.

"No timescale has been put on my condition but if you are ill and don't get treatment you are not going to get better."

Sutent is yet to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) and the NHS has said that until the appraisal is completed it is up to local primary care trusts to prescribe it.

A spokeswoman for County Durham Primary Care Trust said it was following the advice of the North East and Cumbria Drugs Approval Group which had decided there was no evidence of the drug's cost-effectiveness as a second-line treatment.

She said: "We acknowledge individuals and families may question the decisions that are taken, but the group has to make these decisions based on the evidence which is available."




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